Aug. 25, 2013
Sonoma, CA –
Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, FL, and Brandon Davis, of Huntington Beach, CA, took GT and GTS class wins in Round 13 of the Pirelli World Challenge 2013 season, the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma. Both drivers scored their first wins of the season in the race that is part of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend.
Brandon Davis with the GTS win for TRG-AMR (Weber/PWC)
Pilgrim took the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R to his 12th career series victory, after leading all 27 laps of the race at an average speed of 79.561 mph, around the 2.3-mile Sonoma Raceway circuit.
“It probably looked easy,” said Pilgrim. “After our troubles in practice the Team Cadillac guys did a great job to put a good car under me for the race. We had a great day, it was good win.”
Duncan Ende, of Los Angeles, scored his overdue first podium of the season in the No. 24 STANDD.org/Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS, after a sterling drive from 13th and last place on the GT class grid to finish second.
“I guess we finally ‘hit’, rather than missed, for the first time,” said Ende. “It’s been a tough weekend this weekend. We had an aborted session on Friday, and my (qualifying) session got aborted on Saturday. There was obviously a bit of attrition ahead of me that helped, but it’s good to get up here.”
Finishing third was Ende’s GMG Racing teammate and new unofficial class points leader James Sofronas, of Villa Park, CA in the No. 14 The Thermal Club/Swisher Racing/GMG Audi R8 LMS. Sofronas takes over the position as Johnny O’Connell finished outside the top 10 for the second consecutive race.
Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, NC in the No. 2 CRP Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette, finished in the second position on the road, but series officials stopped scoring the driver after Lap 18. The CRP Racing team ignored officials’ repeated requests to serve a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact with Sofronas on Lap 1.
The No. 2 car was shown the black flag three different times. Skeen was classified 11th after the change in position was confirmed.
Polesitter O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, GA in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, had a challenging first lap. He stalled off the start but was able to restart his CTS.V to begin the battle of getting back to the GT field. But heading through Turn 5, O’Connell, Peter Cunningham, in the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, and GTS class points leader Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S came together.
O’Connell wasn’t the only car with issues. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, GA in the No. 6 Alex’s Lemonade Stand K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, spun on the first lap as well in Turn 2 after contact with O’Connell’s teammate Pilgrim. Pilgrim felt remorse for the contact given the level of mutual respect between the two.
“At the start Randy and I went up the hill to Turn Two side-by-side,” Pilgrim said. “At the brake zone I thought we were going to go through the turn together and then he came down a little and we touched and he went around. I love Randy but it sucks that I got into him. It was a racing deal, I tried to miss him. I thought he would have given me a little more room.”
Pilgrim led Pobst’s teammate Alex Figge, of Denver, CO in the No. 9 Alex’s Lemonade Stand K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 for the opening seven laps but Figge’s race ended shortly thereafter. The defending Sonoma race winner retired on Lap 8 with an electrical issue, and was thus unable to win his third straight race this year.
That promoted Skeen to second, ahead of the hard-charging Ende. Ende was never able to close enough on Skeen, who was called in several times to serve the drive-through penalty. Skeen, though, said there was a communication issue in terms of relaying the message.
For the remainder of the race, Sofronas ran close enough to Ende as they battled for third on the road but was unable to pass his teammate. Ende explained after the race that there were no team orders enforced.
Pobst rebounded to fourth place after his first lap spin. Finishing fifth in his first start of the 2013 season was Elton Julian, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, in the No. 80 DragonSpeed, LLC Audi R8 LMS Ultra, one of the two new full GT3-specification cars running at Sonoma this weekend.
Of note, Kevin Buckler, of Sonoma, CA rebounded from a broken clutch before the race to finish sixth in the No. 66 Jawbone/Adobe Road Winery Aston Martin GT3 in that full GT3-spec car’s first Pirelli World Challenge start. Jason Daskalos, of Albuquerque, NM, finished seventh in the No. 47 Vintage 423 Restaurant Dodge Viper Comp Coupe in his first start of the season. Bill Ziegler, of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, finished a season-best eighth in the No. 95 Swisher Racing/GMG Audi R8 LMS.
In GTS, former Pirelli World Challenge GT Drivers’ Champion and Rookie of the Year Davis took the first win for the new TRG-Aston Martin partnership in the No. 27 Barracuda Networks Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in only his second start of the year. It’s his sixth career win.
“This deal came together late in the game,” said Davis, who led 18 of 26 laps. “The TRG guys did a great job to scramble and get me ready. That really allowed me to perform well with a balanced car.”
Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, CO and Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, FL, finished second and third in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro and No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, respectively.
Aschenbach’s podium finish is his 10th in 13 races this season and helps him in the championship chase.
“Yeah it’s a huge points day,” Aschenbach said. “Lost some time the first day. We were a little bit behind and it showed in the race. But still, a great job to Brandon, and the Blackdog Speed Shop Team Chevy Camaro had the the speed to get third.”
Davis started second alongside Motul polesitter and championship points leader Jack Baldwin, in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S.
From the standing start, Baldwin got caught behind the freight train of cars swerving to avoid O’Connell’s stalled CTS.V. Lee rocketed to the front of the GTS field from his fourth place starting position through Turn 2 with Davis, Alec Udell and Aschenbach in tow.
“I had an unbelievable start; I can’t wait to watch the on board,” Lee said. “We went from fourth to first, and I almost took out O’Connell as he stalled. My mirror hit his mirror!”
The contact between O’Connell, Cunningham and Baldwin left all three cars significantly damaged, but still able to limp back to pit road. Baldwin was unable to continue from there and while Cunningham returned for a few laps, he retired shortly thereafter. It’s Baldwin’s first and thus far only DNF of the season and Cunningham’s third in what has amounted to a frustrating 2013 campaign for the seven-time series champion.
Baldwin’s misfortune opened the door for Aschenbach and Lee to close the points gap for the championship, and they took full advantage. For three laps, the top four cars in the GTS field ran nose to tail with Lee, Udell and Aschenbach all looking for opportunities to improve their positions. On Lap 4, Davis passed Lee heading under the bridge through Turn 1 into 2, which secured Davis the Cadillac Move of the Race Award.
A Lap 6 full course caution to remove the No. 34 HPD/Acura/RealTime/Red Line Oil Acura TSX of Nick Esayian, brought all four competitors even closer and Aschenbach seized his opportunity to pass Udell going into Turn 4. Ahead of him, Lee pressured Davis for laps and eventually passed him on Lap 14 in Turn 7. The move earned Lee the Invisible Clean Pass of the Race Award.
For the second half of the race, Davis returned the favor of pressure to Lee, and in a phenomenal pass on Lap 19 coming out of Turn 7 in the esses Davis was able to put the power down quicker than Lee as they went side by side through Turn 8. Davis got a nose ahead of Lee into 8a and Lee relinquished the position. The pass earned Davis the Cadillac Move of the Race Award. From there, Davis held the lead without Lee really having an opportunity to repass once again.
“It was a great battle with Brandon. We couldn’t hold him off the whole race but we were having a blast. I had a lot of fun,” Lee said.
Rounding out the top five in GTS were Udell, of The Woodlands, TX in the No. 17 Motorsports Development Ford Mustang Boss 302R, and Tony Gaples, of Libertyville, IL in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. It was Gaples’ best finish of the season.
Of note, Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, ON, in the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Kia Optima Turbo gained valuable points with a sixth place finish after he was moved to the back of the field because of a post qualifying technical infraction. Prior to tech inspection, he had qualified third.
Brad Adams, of New Orleans, LA in the No. 96 Voodoo/Dat Dog/Yo MTV Raps! Ford Mustang Boss 302S, claimed the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award as he improved nine positions from his 13th place starting position. But a later drive-through penalty dropped him to 17th place at the finish.
Ric Bushey, of Virginia Beach, VA in the No. 51 Motul/OSGiken/SPL/Sparco Nissan 370 Z, took the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for improving 15 positions and finishing a season-best seventh.
Points are final and in GT, Sofronas now leads O’Connell by 21 points, 1360-1339, heading into Houston. Sonoma winner Pilgrim is third 1284, Pobst is fourth with 1210 and Figge is fifth with 1101.
In GTS, Baldwin still leads but by only 46 over Aschenbach, 1297-1251, and by 47 over Wilkins, on 1250. Lee is fourth with 1108 and Udell has moved ahead of Cunningham, 960 to 953, for fifth.
The Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma airs on NBC Sports Network on September 8, at 3:30pm eastern.
Toronto, ON – (July 14, 2013)
Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, GA, and Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, FL, scored wins in Round 10 of the GT and GTS class Pirelli World Challenge 2013 season in the Acura Sports Car Challenge, part of the Honda Indy 200 at Toronto.
Lawson Aschenbach took the GTS class win in Toronto, his fourth of 2013. (Weber/PWC)
O’Connell’s fourth win of 2013 in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R moves him into the GT class points lead, unofficially, over James Sofronas. O’Connell’s teammate Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, FL, in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, finished second for the third straight race. O’Connell completed 34 laps of the 1.755-mile Exhibition Place street circuit at an average speed of 86.302 mph, edging Pilgrim by just 0.479 of a second.
O’Connell and Pilgrim also finished 1-2 at the most recent GT race, Round 9 a little more than one week ago in Lime Rock Park. On this day, the pair admitted it was not nearly as straightforward a result as at Lime Rock.
“We were fortunate today,” said O’Connell. “I really think from the get-go, Alex (Figge) in the Volvo was really strong. I pushed as hard as I could in the opening laps. When you’re in that situation, you know traffic will come to you and help you out.”
Pilgrim made it to second after some poor luck affected other cars. He never was able to make a passing attempt on his teammate, but consolidated Cadillac’s lead in the Manufacturer’s Championship.
“I was trying as hard as I could, but by the time I got to him, I had nothing for him,” said Pilgrim.
Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, NC in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette, came home in third ahead of Sofronas, of Villa Park, CA, in the No. 14 GMG/Swisher Racing/Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, GA in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, rounded out the GT top five.
Pobst’s teammate Alex Figge, of Denver, CO, in the No.9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, got the edge on Motul polesitter O’Connell off the start. Figge held off the charges of both O’Connell and Sofronas, who stayed glued to his bumper as the GT leaders cycled through GTS traffic.
O’Connell got past on Lap 11 and shortly thereafter, Figge’s luck went from bad to worse with a spin at Turn 6. He recovered and resumed, but his result didn’t match his pace all weekend. O’Connell’s pass, meanwhile, secured him the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race Award.
“He caught some competitive traffic, two guys racing through 10 and 11, and finishing the final corner,” said O’Connell. “Sometimes when you’re second, you can do the math a little better. That was the race right there. Luck plays a part in that equation. I got a call on the radio, water in (Turn) 6, but seeing that I changed down to second at what’s usually a third gear corner. Then I saw him spinning and thought, that’s the break I needed.”
Sofronas, then, hounded O’Connell as the Audi’s tires came in over a longer stint. But Sofronas, too, lost control of his car when in the battle for the lead. He spun at Turn 1 on Lap 22 but didn’t do a full loop, and he too returned to the action.
“In traffic, you have to be so careful and get some luck, because today Alex and James basically dropped out of the way,” explained Pilgrim, who was running right behind Sofronas at the time. “James was coming today. He was coming on Johnny and gapping me. He had some problem, I don’t know if it was ABS or gearbox-related, but he did finish so it wasn’t terminal. There was a lot of luck but still a good solid Cadillac.”
The demise of Figge and Sofronas helped promote Skeen, who had started fifth, into podium contention. Skeen came close to the pair of Cadillacs but was unable to make any passing attempts stick.
In GTS, Aschenbach, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, also scored his fourth win of 2013. Aschenbach controlled the race from the Motul pole and his closest challenger, besides Lee, was Nic Jonsson in the No. 36 Kia America/Kia Racing/Kinetic Kia Optima. Jonsson’s charge ended with mechanical issues on Lap 19.
“We had a pretty good Camaro today,” said Aschenbach. “I had a feeling this race would go for long green flag runs, so we set up for that. Hats off to the Blackdog Speed Shop Team Chevy Camaro guys. We learned quite a bit on Friday, and it helped us win the race. It was a great weekend for us, and a great weekend for points.”
It was a Camaro 1-2 as Andy Lee, of Denver, CO, finished second in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro, some 9.264 seconds behind him. The result is Lee’s fifth podium finish of the 2013 season.
“We got really fortunate that they ran into problems too, and that gave us a good enough gap (for second),” Lee said of the Kia’s demise. “I thought we had a car to win; I felt we still had some in reserve. But it’s still a good result for Chevy, with a 1-2, to extend our lead in Manufacturers’ Championship.”
Meanwhile, there was a pivotal change for third place on the last lap. GTS class points leader Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, GA, in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S ended third ahead of Torontonian Mark Wilkins in the No. 38 Kia America/Kia Racing/Kinetic Kia Optima, who had been third.
“It’s probably the toughest race I’ve done in Pirelli World Challenge so far,” said Baldwin. “I blew the start, totally. So I spent most of the race apologizing on the radio. But we made it back. It’s a good points day. The Kias were unbelievable. I wouldn’t have held third anyway.”
Baldwin reflected that he didn’t quite have the speed to match the Camaros or the Kias, and felt fortunate to secure the third place.
“It was good, clean hard racing with Mark,” said Baldwin. “He almost cleared me. We went into Turn 3 real close, and it was a case of who could do it basically. I got him on the inside. Then going up the hill, something happened to him, maybe a pop. I don’t think he would have gotten me back. I had my hands full with Wilkins; he’s a good driver.”
The podium is Baldwin’s ninth in 10 races this season, while Wilkins was cruelly denied a home race podium. The result was still Wilkins’ eighth consecutive top-five finish, though, in fourth place. Roger Rodas, of El Salvador, finished an impressive, season-best fifth in the No. 52 Always Evolving Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302S.
Rodas took home two awards. As he started 10th, he took home the Sunoco Hard Charger Award with a gain of five spots. He also secured the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award for a move on Tony Gaples, of Libertyville, IL, in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, on Lap 5.
Another big mover was Brad Adams, of New Orleans, LA, in the No. 96 Voodoo/Dat Dog/Yo MTV Raps! Ford Mustang Boss 302S. With a launch from 11th on the grid to fifth by the end of Lap 5, Adams took home the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award, and ended the day a season-best sixth.
Points are unofficial after the tenth of 14 races in 2013, but O’Connell has taken the GT class lead from Sofronas. O’Connell leads Sofronas by 36 points (1111-1075).
Pilgrim stays third with 974, and Pobst is fourth on 930. In GTS, Baldwin still has a lead of more than 100 points, with a gap of 133 points over Wilkins (1081-948). Wilkins leads Aschenbach for second by just 31 points (948-917).
The Acura Sports Car Challenge races will be broadcast August 18 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on NBC Sports Network.
After a two-week break, the Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS classes resume at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course August 2-4.
For more information on the series go to World-Challenge.com or follow on Twitter @WCRacing.
Lakeville, CT (July 6, 2013) – Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, GA, and Jack Baldwin of Marrietta, GA took home wins in GT and GTS respectively at the Cadillac Lime Rock Park Grand Prix on Saturday for Round 9 of the Pirelli World Challenge 2013 season.
The win was the third of the season for both O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, and Baldwin, in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S. O’Connell’s win also netted Cadillac Racing its first 1-2 finish of the season.
O’Connell started from the Motul pole and led the 49-lap race flag-to-flag at an average speed of 93.710 mph. On Friday in Round 8, O’Connell fell to third place at the flag.
“Yesterday I went to sleep and I thought, ‘You know, I drove a strong race yesterday,’” said O’Connell. “It was just the luck of traffic there. I’m very, very pleased with how things went today. It’s a shame Mike (Skeen) had issues with the Corvette, as we would have like to resumed that battle. We made some changes to the Cadillac CTS-V.R after Friday and expected it to have the type of run we did.”
O’Connell’s teammate Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, FL, driving the No. 8 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R finished second for the second straight day in a row, while Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, GA, in the K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 finished third. Pilgrim’s pass on Pobst for second place on Lap 9 netted him the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race Award.
Pilgrim praised the entire GT and GTS field for their cleanliness in Round 9. As in Round 8, only one full course caution slowed the 50-minute race on the 1.53-mile, seven-turn “bullring.”
“Running this race as green as we did was a testament to the skill level of the lot of the guys here,” said Pilgrim. “Guys are getting good at using their mirrors. It was really fun racing; congrats to Johnny and Cadillac Racing and it was fun running with Randy.”
Behind the top three, James Sofronas, of Villa Park, CA in the No. 14 GMG/Swisher Racing/Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS and Oliver Bryant, of England, in the No. 33 Fusion WorldWide Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT-3 completed the top five.
Round 8 winner Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, NC in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette, retired after just one lap with a mechanical issue.
In GTS, Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, FL started from the Motul pole and held the lead over Drivers’ Points leader Baldwin, who started second, for a majority of the race. At numerous points Baldwin challenged Aschenbach for lead but could not complete the pass. Then in lapped traffic on Lap 26, Aschenbach’s charge was affected by traffic. As he moved up the road through Turn 1, Baldwin moved to his inside to make the pass. The pass scored Baldwin the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award.
“We made a chassis change and hit the setup today,” said Baldwin. “I was following Lawson, and he was doing a great job. I knew I needed a break in traffic and I got it when a Mercedes got into Lawson, pushed him up high in one, and I got by on the inside. That was the event that changed the outcome of the race.”
Baldwin’s win is his third this season, and his eighth podium finish in nine races. He swept the opening doubleheader weekend at St. Petersburg but had not won since.
“I’m very fortunate and appreciate it,” said Baldwin. “It’s about time to win another one, so thanks. We had a winning car yesterday. I felt bruised and bloodied yesterday getting hit about six times. I just couldn’t make it happen. But big thanks to the GTSport with Goldcrest team.”
Aschenbach was looking to complete the weekend sweep in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. It is still his sixth podium finish in nine races this season.
“I knew coming in it was going to be that way (with traffic),” said Aschenbach. “Today I got the bad side of it. It’s frustrating. You expect GT cars to go by you and be done with it. It gave Jack a wide-open inside of Turn 1. Hats off to Blackdog Speed Shop Team Chevy Camaro. If I just did my lines and did what I had to do, I thought I could keep him behind. We’ll regroup and be better at Toronto.”
Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, Ontario, finished third in the No. 38 KIA Motors America KIA Optima, for his third podium finish in the last four races. He started sixth and advanced to third, and consolidated second place in the unofficial points behind Baldwin.
“Good points day for us all things considered, and a great effort from the Kinetic Motorsports and KIA guys,” said Wilkins. “This is a tough track for our car because all the right-hand turns load the left front really hard. With the weight up front, we have to manage it.”
Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, CO, in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro, finished fourth ahead of Wilkins’ teammate, Nic Jonsson of Sweden, in the No. 36 KIA Motors America KIA Optima. Jonsson’s fifth place finish is his third top-five finish of the season.
A pair of GTS class entries took home additional awards. Bradford S. Sofronas, of Pound Ridge, NY, in the No. 88 Greek Brothers Racing/GMG BMW E46 M3, took home the Sunoco Hard Charger Award after advancing nine positions from 25th to 16th place by the checkered flag. Brian Kleeman, of Towson, MD, in the No. 07 DXD Clutches/DWW Motorsports Nissan 370Z, won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award, after advancing 11 positions from 22nd to 11th by the end of Lap 1. Kleeman finished 18th.
After nine of 14 races in GT, Sofronas leads O’Connell by just 31 points, 990-959. Pilgrim on 864 and Pobst on 850 are separated by just 14 points for third place.
In GTS, Baldwin leads Wilkins by 123 points, 986-863. Aschenbach is third with 766 points with Lee fourth on 727 and Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, WI, fifth with 701 in the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Cunningham finished Round 9 in 13th place.
The Cadillac Lime Rock Park Grand Prix races will be broadcast July 20 at 4 p.m. (EDT) on NBC Sports Network.
The Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS classes’ next race is north of the border on the streets of Toronto at Exhibition Place, July 12-14.
For more information on the series go to World-Challenge.com or follow on Twitter @WCRacing.
(Lakeville, Conn.) O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing/Cadillac CTS-V.R claimed his fourth pole of the 2013 season after posting a time of 51.271 at 103.497 mph. His lap also eclipsed the previous Pirelli World Challenge qualifying lap record at Lime Rock Park that was set by Lou Gigliotti in 2005.
“It is hot out there today,” said O’Connell. “I have to hand it to Team Cadillac. We were fast right off of the trailer. They have a lot of data from here with all of the years that Corvette has run this track in the past. We had a very reasonable car right from the start.”
“I was using every bit of the road in qualifying and dirt tracking the car around here this afternoon,” added O’Connell. “I dropped a wheel off at the exit of West Bend coming down the hill. I was pushing the Cadillac hard. Lime Rock is to road racing what Bristol is to NASCAR. Traffic is going to be difficult. I think whoever keeps a cool head and doesn’t make mistakes will pull this one (Round 8) off.”
O’Connell’s teammate Andy Pilgrim of Boca Raton, FL, in the No. 8, Cadillac Racing/Cadillac CTS-V.R qualified second with a 51.358.
“That makes it a nice fourth of July with two American Cadillac CTS-Vs on the front row here at Lime Rock,” said O’Connell.
Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, NC, in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette qualified third after posting a 51.664. Rounding out the top five in GT are Randy Pobst of Gainesville, GA in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 who posted a 51.679 and Duncan Ende of Los Angeles, CA in the No. 24 STANDD.org/Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS who posted a 51.769.
James Sofronas of Villa Park, CA qualified sixth in the No. 14 GMG/Swisher Racing/Mobil 1/Audi R8 LMS (51.849), ahead of Alex Figge, of Denver, CO in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 (52.062), Tim Pappas, of Boston, MA in the No. 54 Black Swan/Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3 (52.139), Oliver Bryant in the No. 33 Fusion World Wide/Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 (52.375). Rounding out the top 10 is Alex Welch, of Englewood, CO, in the No. 08 Spyder/Lasso/GMG/Audi R8 LMS (52.481).
In GTS, Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, CO, took the GTS class pole in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro. It is Lee’s fifth pole position of the 2013 season, set with a time of 55.036 seconds (96.416 mph) on his second lap of the 20-minute session.
“I didn’t think it would come that early, but I knew the car was fast from practice,” said Lee. “This pole is a combination of a lot of things. We have a great car, and the guys are working their tails off. We have qualifying down, it’s the races (that have led to a) 50/50 season.”
Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, FL, completed the Camaro 1-2. Aschenbach, driver of the No. 10 Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Camaro, had his best lap of 55.196. Class points leader Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, GA, in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S, lines up third with a best time of 55.390.
Mark Wilkins, of Toronto in the No. 38 KIA Motors America KIA Optima (55.492) and Steven Goldman, of Woodcliff Lake, NJ, in the No. 05 ZSA Motorsport & Trade Manage Porsche Cayman S (55.659) complete the top five on the grid.
Tom Long of Raleigh, NC, has the No. 60 LotusUSA/Taggart Autosport/LRR Lotus Exige sixth (55.660) ahead of the RealTime Racing teammates. Peter Cunningham of Milwaukee, WI, lines up seventh in the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX (55.967), with Nick Esayian of San Diego, CA, eighth in the No. 34 HPD/Acura/RealTime/Red Line Oil Acura TSX (56.456).
Robert Stout, of Brownsburg, IN, has taken the new Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil/E3 Spark Plug Scion FR-S up to ninth on the grid (56.924) with Aschenbach’s teammate, Tony Gaples, of Libertyville, IL, 10th in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro (56.970).
Of note, Alec Udell, of The Woodlands, Texas in the No. 17 Motorsports Development Ford Mustang Boss 302R, had an engine change and will start from the rear of the GTS class field for Round 8 on Friday. Udell set the fastest lap in Round Six at Detroit, and finished on the podium in Round Seven there.
Qualifying positions are provisional until posted final.
Round Eight is scheduled for tomorrow Friday, July 5 at 12:10 p.m. (EDT). Round Nine is scheduled for Saturday, July 6 at 10:35 a.m. (EDT).
All races will be streamed live at www.world-challengetv.com and then aired on the NBC Sports Network July 20 at 4 p.m. (EDT).
More information on the series can be found at www.world-challenge.com or on Twitter @WCRacing.
WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 30, 2013) Robin Liddell led the final 11 laps of the race to win in the GT class, the fourth win in five races for him and co-driver John Edwards in the No. 57 Stevenson Automotive Group Chevrolet Camaro GT.R. With the win, Liddell and Edwards move to within six points (199-193) of John Potter and Andy Lally in the standings.
“There were probably five or six cars easily that could have won this race in GT,” Liddell said. “Everybody played a key part in terms of strategy and pit stops. … I thought John (Edwards) showed great maturity to just hang on.”
DETROIT (June 1, 2013)
No. 57 Stevenson Automotive Group Camaro GT.R co-drivers John Edwards and Robin Liddell earned their third straight GT-class victory and gave Chevrolet a Motor City sweep of DP and GT. Edwards and Liddell were buoyed by quick pit work to take the lead after starting fifth in class on the 2.36-mile street circuit.
“Hats off to the Stevenson guys,” Edwards said. “They really got us in the lead and I think you could see by the pressure I was getting at the end that if I had gone out in second place we probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you as winners. Those guys have done a fantastic job to give us three in a row.”
Jun. 1, 2013
DETROIT – Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., and Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, stood on the top step of the podium after winning Round Six of the Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS Championships in the Cadillac V-Series Challenge, part of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Johnny O’Connell notches a win at Belle Isle.
O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, is half way to defending his Belle Isle sweep in 2012. He led from the pole, never relenting the lead in the 25-lap race that averaged 69.083 mph around the 2.35-mile, 14-turn street course.
The race was slowed by two cautions lasting a total of 10 laps. The first of those cautions was brought out on lap one when the No. 36 Kia Motors America Kia Optima GTS car of Nic Jonsson, of Sweden, made heavy contact with the right-side retaining wall less than 100 yards past the green flag.
The second caution was thrown for two separate incidents involving lead-pack cars in each class. The first incident occurred when Alex Figge, running in fifth at the time, collided with the wall on the exit of Turn 13 in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60.
The second collision, which happened almost simultaneously, involved the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX of Peter Cunningham. Running third in GTS at the time, Cunningham’s machine came to a rest up against the tire barrier in Turn 11, with the left front wheel completely disconnected from the car.
“The two caution periods help me out,” O’Connell said. “I was having some issues with the tires, so the yellows allowed me to cool them down and manage them to the end. We don’t have a lot of tuning in the car to change the handling. I was working with my brake bias knob to improve the handling, but a long run under green worked against me. I think my advantage to the Volvo was the ability to dig deep in the opening laps of the race and on the restarts to get a gap. Then they had to worry about everyone behind them.
“You want to do well when you race in your own back yard. The front five cars were nose to tail around here. We have some work to do to make the car better for tomorrow. Everyone will be a little faster on Sunday.”
Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., made up for a trying Detroit race weekend in 2012 where he finished last in Race One as a result of a collision on the start, and ninth in Race Two. Saturday, he finished second in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, only 1.188 seconds behind the winner.
“I really enjoy being in Detroit,” Pobst said. “I’m a car guy. I want to thank my K-PAX Volvo Racing team for putting together a great car today. A lot of things about that car are so different from the competitor’s we race against. Makes for an interesting race, I think we over achieved a little bit in qualifying then think we missed it a little bit in the race.
“I looked at the forecast and figured it was going to be wet. There was a giant storm headed straight for Detroit. I don’t know what kind of deal Cadillac has with the weather gods, but the track dried right up. It was a tough race with Andy [Pilgrim] giving me hell the entire time with James Sofronas right behind him. I’m happy with second place and will look for that first place finish tomorrow.”
Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., backed up the performance of his teammate finishing third in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R. He captured the position, and the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race, by getting around James Sofronas on the first restart.
“The setup on my Cadillac was really good,” Pilgrim said. “At the end, James [Sofronas] in the Audi was all over me. I think I have some white paint on the back of my car, but it was a good, competitive race. I couldn’t get close enough to Randy [Pobst] in the Volvo to make a move on him. There was less rubber down on the track from the rain washing it off last night. The track will get faster with the more rubber that gets put down. The job that the Penske organization has done with the track is just great. There are several passing zones, which makes things more exciting for the fans and us drivers.”
GT Drivers’ Championship leader James Sofronas, of Villa Park, Calif., finished off the podium for the first time this year, crossing the line fourth in the No. 14 GMG/Mobil 1 Audi R8.
Tim Pappas, of Boston, was the benefactor of Figge’s late-race retirement. Finishing fifth, Pappas scored his fourth-career top-five in the No. 54 Black Swan Mercedes AMG SLS.
In GTS, Wilkins also led flag-to-flag in his No. 38 Kia Motors America Kia Optima, finishing 1.078 seconds ahead of Jack Baldwin.
“We were flat out,” Wilkins said. “Lawson [Aschenbach] and Jack [Baldwin] did a great job. Lawson was coming on strong after some adversity throughout the weekend. And Jack’s always strong.
“We had to push. Thanks to Kia Racing and Kinetic Motorsports for a great race car today. The track changes are awesome. We really appreciate those. They really help. We had a good run and a strong car. We are looking forward to it all again tomorrow.”
Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., crossed the line second, adding valuable points to his GTS Driver’s Championship lead. The finish is Baldwin’s sixth-consecutive podium in 2013, behind the wheel of the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S.
“It feels good to have nice little podium streak going on,” Baldwin said. “The competition is tough, my hats off to Lawson [Aschenbach] and Mark [Wilkins]. Both of them did a great job in the car. Today’s performance, and even at COTA, goes to show what a nice job Mark’s doing in managing that car. Those long straightaways favor his car, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I gave Mark everything I had, trying to keep him as honest as possible. Lawson came up after the caution, poking around. I don’t think either one of us had anything for Mark. It was Mark’s day, and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, Fla., finished third in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. The finish is the fourth podium for Aschenbach this year, and he earned the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race getting around Dean Martin for what would end up being the third position.
“It’s tough,” Aschenbach said. “Street courses are the toughest places to pass. Unfortunately, our car is slowest in the straights, we don’t have that advantage. Our advantage is braking. It’s hard to close on someone enough where you don’t dive bomb them trying to pass. Fortunately, we were able to stay up there and make a couple of good passes. But, once I got up to Jack and Mark there was just nothing I could do.
“Hats off to the Black Dog guys, they’ve been working hard all weekend. We’ve had transmission issues since we showed up. We didn’t even get out for the first practice session, and qualified with just fourth gear, ending up ninth. Fortunately we got it sorted out. We’ve got a good car, but have to work on it to catch these guys.”
Martin, of Westland, Mich., led all Michigan drivers in Race One, finishing fourth in the No. 50 Picture Cars East/Grand Sanitation Ford Mustang Boss 302S.
The most recent GTS winner, Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo., completed the top five in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro.
Roger Miller, of Salt Lake City, Utah, captured the Sunoco Hard Charger Award and the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start, en route to finishing 13th in class, passing 13 cars.
Sofronas holds onto his GT Drivers’ Championship lead with 746 points. However, O’Connell has started to make hay in the points, 133 markers behind Sofronas, followed by Pilgrim, with 576.
Baldwin also continues to sit atop the GTS drivers’ leaderboard, having scored 689 points. Wilkins jumped to second, 116 markers behind, with Lee in tow, collecting 488 points.
Qualifying for Round Seven of the doubleheader event is scheduled for Sunday at 8:30 a.m. (EDT), with the race scheduled for 12:00 p.m.(EDT). The race will be streamed live at www.world-challengetv.com and then aired on the NBC Sports Network June 16 at 5 p.m. (EDT).
More information on the series can be found at www.world-challenge.com or on Twitter @WCRacing.
AUSTIN, Texas – Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., led all the way to win Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge GT Cadillac Sports Car Challenge Round Four race at Circuit of the Americas. Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, Fla., captured the GTS class win, holding off a charging Andy Lee at the finish.
Johnny O’Connell takes the win in Saturday’s Round Four at COTA.
O’Connell started from the Motul Pole Position in his No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R and got to Turn One first off the standing start. From there, the defending series Champion led all the way, weathering a pair of restarts and temperatures in the mid-90s to take his first win of 2013. O’Connell finished 1.107-seconds ahead of point leader James Sofronas, averaging 75.788 mph around the 2.3-mile, 20-turn road course.
“I had a really good start,” O’Connell said. “We usually lose out to the Volvos on the starts with their four-wheel drive. My objective was to just keep him behind me or to the outside going into Turn One. When I got that launch, and I saw that the Volvo was not going to be able to get me into Turn One, that was the defining moment to the race.
“After the start I had to just hit my marks. I wanted to push hard early. I brought my front tires in early and wanted to get a gap in the first couple of laps. When the Audi got by the Volvo I had to push because he was coming fast.”
The win comes one month after O’Connell and the Team Cadillac crew watched victory slip away in Long Beach. On the final lap, while leading under caution, the Cadillac’s engine expired due to a radiator punctured by debris.
“I had a good race car from the Team Cadillac guys. They’ve worked hard to get these cars to handle in this heat. It was good to get the victory after my near win at Long Beach a couple of weeks ago. It is also special to get the first World Challenge Series GT win at a new track. I am looking forward to the second race tomorrow.”
Sofronas benefitted from O’Connell’s retirement at Long Beach to score his second win of the season. Saturday, he started second in his No. 14 GMG/Mobil 1 Audi R8, but fell to third on the start, behind Randy Pobst’s No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60. Sofronas spent 14 of the race’s 25 laps trying to find a way around Pobst, and finally made the move stick, setting his sights on O’Connell.
Despite closing the gap considerably, Sofronas ran out of time, and had to settle for the runner-up finish, his second of 2013 to go with a pair of wins.
“The heat affected our strategy, much like everyone else,” Sofronas said. “We had to manage the tires, brakes and engine temps. We had a strong car for the first half of the race. We got held up by Randy Pobst. I was all over him. The car was fast in the high speed turns, but I just couldn’t get around him, and that was enough for Johnny [O’Connell] to get away. When I was able to get by Randy, I was able to get some clean air and run hard, but at the end, with eight laps to go, I began to lose the front tires and just drove through it.”
O’Connell’s teammate Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., started fourth in his No. 8 Team Cadillac Cadillac CTS-V.R but fell to 13th after bogging down at the start. He worked back up to eighth by the second caution to remove the stricken No. 85 Racing for Our Heroes Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Craig Stanton. Following the lap-11, restart to he gained two positions to sixth and was fourth three laps later. With three laps remaining, he was able to move around Pobst’s Volvo for the final position on the podium, earning the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race in the process.
“I didn’t get a good start,” Pilgrim said. “The clutch was dragging and stalled the engine. I had to switch the power back on, the car fired up, by then the field was gone.
“This is a tough place to pass. I had to wait for people to make a mistake. I made some good moves, while trying to be patient. Randy was really fast on the straight, but he seemed to be having trouble through the Esses. I just bided my time and was able to get him. It was good to get a double podium finish for Cadillac. We will get it right for the race tomorrow.”
Pobst held on for fourth, followed by a charging Tim Pappas, of Boston, Mass. Pappas started 11th in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-Benz SLR but steadily moved up to score the best finish for a Mercedes-Benz in Pirelli World Challenge GT competition. It was Pappas’ second-career top-five finish and first since his return to the series following a 10-year hiatus.
O’Connell’s fastest lap of 1:34.126 (87.967 mph) will place him on the pole for Sunday’s Round Five race. Sofronas will again start second.
In GTS, Aschenbach started from the Motul Pole and gained an early advantage in his No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. Unlike O’Connell, the restarts did not go as smoothly for the two-time series Champion. On the lap-11 restart, Aschenbach watched the pair of Kia Motors America Kia Optimas of Nic Jonsson and Mark Wilkins drive by heading up the hill into Turn One.
It took Aschenbach four laps to move around Wilkins, and then another two to move past Jonsson and back into the lead. In the closing laps, Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo., began to close on the leader. On the final lap, Lee turned the fastest lap of the race in his No. 20 Best IT Chevrolet Camaro, but came up 0.348-second short at the finish.
It was Aschenbach’s second-straight win, and moved him to within one point of Championship leader Jack Baldwin. Aschenbach’s resurgent run earned him the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race.
“This win is a big deal,” Aschenbach said. “With only 14 races, you really need to be up front as often as you can. Fortunately, today, it worked for us.
“It was quite hot. Something happened about halfway through, so I had to back it off a little bit. But Andy [Lee] drove a hell of a race out there, too. He was right there. Two Camaros up front for GM is always good.
“This is only our third race and we’re winning races. It’s quite a testament to our sponsors and the work the guys at the shop have done. We’ll take it, but I think we still do have some work to do for tomorrow, to help get this thing a little quicker.”
Lee’s runner-up finish equaled his best on the season. The fast lap of 1:41.032 (81.954 mph) means Lee will start Sunday’s Round Five race from the Motul Pole.
“This has been one of the most grueling races heat wise, in the car,” Lee said. “I opted to go without the cool suit just to stay as light as I could. I was saving everything, the motor, the brakes, the tires. I was just driving it 90 percent most of the race. I thought if I went for it on the last lap I might catch him at the right time. I closed, but I probably should have started a lap earlier. But, it was a great battle and he [Aschenbach] drove flawlessly. It’s good to be a Chevy Camaro one-two.”
Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., started sixth, but worked his way around the front-wheel drive Kias and the Acura TSX of defending series Champion Peter Cunningham to take the final spot on the podium in his No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman.
“I didn’t get a great start at all, ending up eighth,” Baldwin said. “I just ran hard all day and did the best to manage everything. I think third is pretty good. I’ve got nothing for the Camaros, so that’s what we’ve got. Third is third. I’m good.”
Jonsson, of Sweden, and Toronto’s Wilkins completed the top five.
Jim Taggart, of Raleigh, N.C., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions in the race in his No. 61 Lotus USA/Taggart Autosport/LRR Lotus Exige. Brad Adams, of New Orleans, La., earned the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for advancing nine positions on the first lap in his No. 96 Voodoo/Dat Dog/Yo MTV Raps! Ford Mustang Boss 302.
Sofronas continues to lead the GT Championship standings, with 517 points, followed now by O’Connell (411) and Pilgrim (370). Audi leads the Manufacturers’ Championship, with 34, followed by Cadillac (27), Volvo (20), Chevrolet (10), AMG Customer Sports (3) and Porsche (1).
Baldwin leads GTS, with 484 points, followed by Aschenbach (483) and Cunningham (369). Chevrolet enjoys an 18-point lead in the Manufacturers Championship, 35 to 17 over Acura, followed by Kia (8) and Ford (1).
Saturday’s race will be part of the June 16 broadcast on NBC Sports at 5 p.m. (EDT).
Round Five of the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS Championship will make its standing start Sunday at 1:15 p.m. (CDT), with coverage beginning on www.world-challengetv.com at 12:20 p.m. (CDT).
BRASELTON, Ga. (April 20, 2013)
John Edwards and Stevenson Motorsports were winners for the second time on Saturday, with Edwards and Robin Liddell scoring their second consecutive GT victory in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro.
(Birmingham, AL) Bringing home the victory in the Grand Touring (GT) class were John Edwards and Robin Liddell in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R. Edwards started the race from the pole, and Liddell won the race off pit lane from the final stop, and held off a hard challenge to win by 0.733 seconds.
ROBIN LIDDELL AND JOHN EDWARDS, NO. 57 STEVENSON MOTORSPORTS, STEVENSON AUTOMOTIVE GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT.R – GT CLASS RACE WINNERS:
THIS CAR STARTED ON THE POLE WITH JOHN EDWARDS AND YOU BROUGHT IT HOME TO VICTORY LANE TODAY, BUT IT WASN’T EASY. YOU HAD YOUR HANDS FULL OUT THERE IN THE CLOSING LAPS:
“Yeah, we were under quite a lot of pressure. Alessandro (Balzan) was doing a good job in the No. 63 Ferrari was doing a good job. He’s not been in the series very long and we’ve already had a good few races with him and with those guys. Obviously the car was out front with John starting on the pole and that helped a lot. It takes the pressure off as the second driver. It’s not an easy track to pass around here and although the car was very good, it was key for us getting track position and trying to stay there rather than trying to fight out way through the field. The second pit stop was very key. We just managed to sneak out ahead of those guys. Great job by the team and the crew to do that and I had a pretty risky move in the pit lane just to stay ahead of him going down past their box. So, I figured that was going to be the key to the race. We obviously managed to come out ahead. We were certainly good on new tires and I think we were even better in the traffic. Overall, they were very strong and they were closing the gap pretty tight and pretty quickly at the end there. So, hat’s off to all our crew and thanks to everybody on our side: Stevenson, Chevrolet, John, Mike Johnson, and everybody did a super job today.
“I think I gained a little bit from some track experience here. Obviously Alessandro has not been at some of these tracks and I think I just knew where to position the car and when the tires started to go off, I think I could cope with that a little bit better. He was a wee bit quicker in the end and obviously we were under quite a bit of pressure. But generally speaking, I seemed to get the breaks; and where I was able to stop a DP going by to get a run out of the corner and keep him between us, I was able to do that. We were looking very strong in the last section into the last couple of turns and I full expected him to have a lunge being made at me in the last lap, but he wasn’t close enough to me. So, all credit to the guys. The team did a wonderful job. In the end the guys did a super job in the pits and it was very, very tight on the way out because the No. 63 car came out of the box and I really thought we were going to make contact. I just my foot in because I figured that would be the key to the race, which I think in the end, it was. So a great job by everybody.”
YOU WON THE POLE AND YOU STARTED FROM THE FRONT WHERE YOU WANTED TO. AND YOU GUYS MADE IT WORK:
“Yeah, I had a pretty intense stint there because we chose to take tires and other people didn’t. So we were a bit faster but the tires were starting to go off as I was catching Jeff Westphal who hadn’t taken tires. And I didn’t think I was going to get by him without a mistake or some traffic, so I saw an opportunity with traffic and took it; and ended-up going sailing off the road, so I hope I didn’t give the team a heart attack doing that. But we ended up pitting behind Jeff and came out ahead. So full credit to the Stevenson crew and the tire change. We weren’t waiting on fuel for that stop. So the guys with the tires and Robin and Mike with the driver change, really deserve a lot of credit for taking that spot because if we had come up behind Alessandro, I don’t think we would have had a shot getting by him.”
GRAND-AM Cooldown Lap: Lime Rock Park (Rolex)
Notes And Quotes
Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli scored their third consecutive Daytona Prototype victory at Lime Rock Park, while Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas took their third straight DP championship with a seventh-place finish.
Taylor held off Antonio Garcia to win by .334 seconds, giving the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP its third victory of the season. Garcia and Richard Westbrook also ended the season as three-time winners in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP. Alex Gurney and Alex Gurney rounded out the podium in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP, followed by the two Action Express entries (the No. 5 of David Donohue and Brian Frisselle, and the No. 9 of Darren Law and Joao Barbosa), giving the Corvette DP a sweep of the top five places to cap its first year of competition.
Needing a ninth-place finish, Pruett and Rojas iced their fourth DP title in five years by finishing seventh in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. Ryan Dalziel entered the race with a mathematical shot at the championship, but finished sixth in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley started by Alex Popow.
Robin Liddell and John Edwards took their third GT victory of the season in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro. Liddell passed Andy Lally with three laps remaining, denying the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 started by John Potter its third triumph of 2012. Lally then had to pit for fuel, promoting the No. 51 APR Motorsport Audi R8 of Dion von Moltke and Jim Norman to a second-place finish.
While 2012 GT champions Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal had problems early in the race that resulted in an eighth-place finish for the No. 69 AIM Autosport/Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia, a third-place finish by the late-entered No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia of Allesandro Balzan and Johannes van Overbeek gave Ferrari the GT manufacturers championship.
- DP 1st: Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor, No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP
- DP 2nd: Richard Westbrook and Antonio Garcia, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP
- DP 3rd: Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP
- GT 1st: John Edwards andRobin Liddell, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
- GT 2nd: Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke, No. 51 APR Motorsport Audi R8
- GT 3rd: Johannes van Overbeek and Allesandro Balzan, No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari
- Margin of Victory: .334 seconds (DP); 3.677 seconds (GT)
- Average Speed: 92.873 mph (DP); 88.389 mph (GT)
- Cautions: Five for 29 laps
Final Points (Unofficial)
- DP: Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas, 379; Ryan Dalziel, 367; Darren Law, 355; David Donohue, 348; Alex Popow, 346.
- GT: Jeff Segal/Emil Assentato, 387; Robin Liddell, 360; Paul Dalla Lana, 339; Sylvain Tremblay/Jonathan Bomarito, 336; Leh Keen/Andrew Davis, 329.
- In a change of strategy, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates opted to have Scott Pruett qualify the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. Pruett qualified second. The team had some drama when Memo Rojas had damaged bodywork during his stint, but the team held on to finish seventh – good enough to win the title.
- In addition to being the third straight DP title for Pruett and Rojas, it was their fourth in five years counting the 2008 crown. Pruett also won the 2004 title for the team, co-driving with Max Papis, while Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates won in 2006, giving the team a total of six championships.
- Richard Westbrook won his third TOTAL Performance Pole Award on Saturday morning in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP. Jon Fogarty – quickest early in the 15-minute session – led the series with four poles in 2012.
- The second-place finish by Dion von Moltke and Dr. Jim Norman was the best for the new Audi R8 GRAND-AM. The only prior top-10 finish for the No. 51 APR Motorsports Audi was ninth at Montreal.
- Scuderia Corsa took the final GT podium position in its second Rolex Series race. Alessandro Balzan was coming off a pole-winning effort at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He was joined on the late entry by Johannes van Overbeek – on loan from Team Patron – who led 24 laps early in the race.
- 3 – GT laps led by Robin Liddell – the final three laps of the race
- 9 – Number of DP chassis manufacturers championships by Riley Technologies
- 10 – GT laps led by Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Horton Autosport Porsche GT3
- 15 – Number of championships for Chip Ganassi Racing teams in GRAND-AM and Indy cars.
- 89 – race-high GT laps led by Andy Lally in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3
- “This morning, I was just hoping for a podium. We made a lot of changes after qualifying, and when I saw Max (Angelelli) on the first restart, I saw we had a car that could win the race.” Ricky Taylor, race winner in the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP
- “This has been an incredibly difficult and challenging season. We had to dig deep. We didn’t have the fastest car, so we had to right for every point in the championship. We made a strategy change today. We thought we’d be better off going with two driver changes, rather than two long stints.” Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley
- “We’re making progress at Lime Rock. We were finally able to win here – finally able to finish on the lead lap. We were able to do the right things and finish the championship.” Memo Rojas, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley
- “I knew the No. 44 car was going to be close on fuel, so I tried to keep the pressure on him, and that’s what happened at the end.” Robin Liddell, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
- “Every time Ricky (Taylor) was able to open a gap, I was able to get back to him. But this track is not an easy place to overtake, and Ricky defending his position very well. I really think that last safety car gave him a little bit of a breather. After that, he was really fast. We’ve always had the pace this year – we could have won five or six races this year. We’re getting to where we take races like today as bad results.” Antonio Garcia, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP
- “(Not winning a race in 2012) was not for lack of effort. We had good pace and won a few pole positions, but we weren’t able to put everything together. You have to be perfect to win in this series.” Jon Fogarty, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP
- “APR did an amazing job developing this car. It seemed we never had the same car twice. The teamwork on the pit stop got me close to the front, and I was able to keep it there. I would have liked to have given Dr. Jim a victory, but a podium is the next best thing.” Dion von Moltke, No. 51 APR Motorsport Audi R8 GRAND-AM
The 2012 champs will be feted Monday evening at New York City’s Gotham Hall in the Rolex Champions Awards presented by SunTrust. The next scheduled Rolex Series test will be Oct. 27-28 at Kansas Speedway. The 2013 schedule will open with the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 26-27 at Daytona International Speedway.
Recap courtesy of: www.grand-am.com
Katech 2012 Track Attack Video Compilation
New Katech Valve Cover Inserts
These new Katech valve cover inserts are manufactured with a different method to reduce cost and provide a broader range of styles for customers to choose from. Rather than CNC machining and filling with paint, these inserts are brushed, printed, and then clear coated.
Katech Street Attack Z06 at Summit Point
Check out this video of a Katech Street Attack Z06 customer showing all the Porsches who’s boss at a PCA event at Summit Point. This is not a radical racecar. It’s a Katech Street Attack Z06 vehicle package.
From now until September 30th you can save 40% on our carbon fiber or fiberglass aero package with the purchase of a Street Attack Z06 or Track Attack Z06 as well as a $500 credit towards transportation cost.
Here’s how it works:
Purchase a Street Attack Z06 vehicle package between now and September 30th, 2012 and you get the following:
-Katech carbon fiber or fiberglass splitter with undertray and brake ducts – 40% off
-Katech front fascia reinforcement – 40% off
-Katech carbon fiber or fiberglass side skirts – 40% off
-Katech carbon fiber rear spoiler – 40% off
-$500 credit towards your enclosed vehicle transportation costs to Katech through Gadget Works Transport
Purchase a Track Attack Z06 vehicle package between now and September 30th, 2012 and you get the following:
-Katech carbon fiber or fiberglass splitter with undertray and brake ducts – 40% off
-Katech front fascia reinforcement – 40% off
-Katech carbon fiber or fiberglass side skirts – 40% off
-Katech carbon fiber rear spoiler – 40% off
-Katech carbon fiber decklid with lexan window (any finish) – 40% off
-$500 credit towards your enclosed vehicle transportation costs to Katech through Gadget Works Transport
Fifty-Year Friendship Inspires Texan’s Track Attack Participation
Name: Guy Burkhart
From: Richmond, Texas
Car: 2005 C6 Corvette
Guy Burkhart said he was the most peculiar guy on the track at this year’s Track Attack. While we didn’t find him that peculiar, we did find him to be very unique and at the event for a very personal reason: to honor the memory of his childhood friend.
When Guy was eight years old growing up in Texas, he lived on the same block with Jim Wey, who was 10 years his senior. Jim, as a teenager, was interested in drag racing, and when Guy would hear Jim fire up his drag racecar, he would run next door to see what Jim and his friends were doing.
“I blame him for sucking me into horsepower!” said Guy. “We were friends from the time I was eight until he passed away two years ago when I was 58. We were just buds.”
Over the years, he and Guy shared a love of performance vehicles and performance driving, and their friendship grew. Guy became Jim’s tow truck driver and mechanic, while Jim drove in events. Eventually, Jim bought a 2005 C6 Corvette to which Katech made modifications, as well as to an SS Trailblazer. A short time after taking delivery of his Corvette, however, Jim became ill to the point that he could no longer drive his C6.
“He liked to go to events – he could navigate,” said Guy, “but I became his driver, and the car lived at my house. Basically, Jim was the ‘daddy’ watching his car perform. He would sit out here and watch and listen while I would blast around the track.”
When Jim passed away two years ago, his children came to Guy and said they knew that the car was at its proper home (his), exactly where it should be, exactly as their father wanted, and gave ownership of the Corvette to him.
He said he feels compelled to keep the tradition going, so he returned to Track Attack this year to honor the memory of his lifelong friend.
“I’ve just always been a horsepower fanatic,” Guy said. “[I’ve] never really been able to race – I also promised that I wouldn’t – so I just like to come to track events and throw the car around. I’m not racing, so I’m not breaking my promise, and my wife understands that.”
We will be attending the Corvettes at Carlisle show in Carlisle, PA Friday 8/24 to Sunday 8/26. I’m happy to announce that we will have a huge presence in the Vendor Midway with 70′ of frontage and a fully stocked semi of parts. We will have products on hand for you to purchase and take home with you. Not only will you save on shipping (especially the large parts), but we will also be running the following specials:
-10% off all in-stock parts
-$1000 off Street Attack and Track Attack engine packages
-*Free transportation back to Katech for any standard vehicle package
*Space is limited. First come – first serve.
Also make sure to check out all of our Katech apparel. We have T-shirts starting at only $8!
We look forward to seeing you there!
Katech Inc., the leader in performance engines for driving enthusiasts and race teams, has just waved the checkered flag, completing its Track Attack 2012 enthusiast driving experience. This is the fourth Track Attack event that the company has put together for driving enthusiasts, which was held this year at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill.
Track Attack 2012 featured 43 participant drivers and their guests who brought vehicles that included a broad range of Corvettes, Camaros, Porsches, and Cadillacs. Their mission: drive their cars fast, learn from current and past racing drivers and build relationships in the performance driving community – all within the two-day timeframe of the non-competitive event. Participants came from 19 states, including California, Washington, Florida and Texas, as well as two provinces in Canada.
“We’re thrilled at both the level of participation at this year’s event and the amount of performance driving that our participants have been able to enjoy,” said Warren Frieze, General Manager of Katech Inc. “It means that our customers and friends have had a safe, controlled outlet for their performance driving interests.”
Frieze said that, although driving skills vary among our attendees from beginner to expert, everyone is a winner at Track Attack because they come away with improved driving skills, better knowledge of the performance ability of their vehicles and a broader network of drivers and technical experts to answer their questions.
Track Attack 2012 began with a vehicle technical inspection for each participant that certified their vehicle’s performance and safety readiness. Then, track officials took all participants through a detailed explanation of the track, its safety personnel and procedures for a safe driving experience. In addition to classroom instruction, participants in the event’s beginner and intermediate groups were assigned a Katech instructor, who rode with them, suggested techniques and strategies to improve their performance and mentored them throughout the two-day event. Track time was divided into three experience groups, including advanced drivers.
Katech’s staff for the event also included professional drivers Andy Pilgrim and Johnny O’Connell, both of whom drive the Cadillac CTS-V for General Motors in the Pirelli World Challenge series.
To ensure that each driver has the best track experience, Katech also provided a team of technical experts and technicians who helped them keep their cars in top performance condition. The Katech team freely discussed performance adjustments and enhancements with car owners and helped bleed brakes, replace brake pads, adjust engine performance specs and make other tweaks and adjustments that helped tune the car to the driver.
“Track Attack is a unique opportunity for our customers to experience and safely test the performance vehicles and packages that we offer,” said Jason Harding, Director of Aftermarket Operations and the head technical expert for Track Attack 2012. “We’re here also to ensure that they get the best performance from their vehicles at the event, and we bend over backwards to help them wring out every bit of horsepower, as well as helping them improve their vehicle’s cornering capability.”
Harding said that Katech invited a number of performance partners to participate in Track Attack 2012, including suspension and ride experts from Pfadt Race Engineering, exhaust specialists from Corsa Performance, a brake guru from Brembo and intake engineering experts from Halltech Systems.
Attendees appreciated Katech’s can-do approach to the event also. Alexander Stemer of Chesterton, Ind., who brought a Ward Kurtis 500S to the event, said he heard about Track Attack from a friend who has a similar passion for driving:
“This company epitomizes what everybody wishes every company did, in that they really treat each of their clients here as though they are personal friends of the company,” said Alexander Stemer, a physician from northern Indiana who attended the event with a Ward Kurtis 500S. “They don’t stop asking what they can do for you, and they don’t stop asking how they can help you – and they treat every person here like they’re a valuable person and they’re interested in you and they’d like you to come back.”
Based on the success of this year’s event, Katech’s Performance group is looking forward to sponsoring Track Attack in 2013.
We will be at the National Corvette Museum’s Virginia International Raceway High Performance Driving Event Monday 6/25 and Tuesday 6/26 so make sure to stop by our hauler to see our products and latest vehicles or grab a refreshment. We’re bringing plenty of water and Gatorade because it will be HOT! Look for the Katech banners and Katech flag. We will have about a dozen Katech-powered cars on track. We look forward to seeing everybody there!
This high-quality, lightweight micro-mesh, 3-button polo is worn by Katech Performance team members at shows and events. It features partner logos of Mobil 1, Moton, Brembo, HRE, CORSA, RPM, ARE, Pfadt, Caravaggio and Halltech on the sleeves and Katech Performance logo on the front and back. It is available in black with orange or white with blue. Sizes S-3XL
MADE IN THE USA!
Katech Motorsports engines have placed many drivers on the podium around the world. We couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to race in our own back yard. The next stop for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Championship is the narrow 2.1 mile, 14 turn temporary street course constructed on Belle Isle, located at the mouth of the Detroit river. The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returns to the Motor City for the first time in four years, June 1-3.
Stevenson Motorsports #57: Robin Liddell, John Edwards
Autohaus Motorsports #88: Jordan Taylor, Paul Edwards
MBR #46: Michael Baughman, Jeff Nowicki
World Challenge Championship
Cadillac Racing: #3 Johnny O’Connell, #8 Andy Pilgrim
Michigan 50 Companies to Watch is an awards program that discovers and celebrates the second-stage companies that make an impact in their markets, in their communities and in the state. Last month Katech was honered as on of those companies.
Stephen Chue, president and technical director of Katech, as well as key members of the company were present at the awards ceremony in Lansing. It was a great team effort to come this far, and we will continue to strive toward being a more efficient and effective company. Governer Rick Snyder stated, “It was good to pause and reflect on our success, but today we need to keep pushing towards our next goal”.
Italian based, Solaris Motorsports had a good outing this past weekend in northern Italy, at the Imola circuit. The 17-turn, 3.050 mile circuit is one of the few major international circuits to run in an anti-clockwise direction. The track was inaugurated in 1953, and it had no chicanes, so the run from Rivazza all the way to Tosa, through the pits and the eventually notorious Tamburello was totally flat out. Despite the addition of the chicanes, the circuit was subject to constant safety concerns, mostly regarding the flat-out Tamburello corner, which was very bumpy and had little room between the track and a concrete wall which hides a creek that runs behind it.
Over the years revisions were made in an attempt to make the circuit safer. The flat-out Tamburello corner was reduced to a 4th gear left-right sweeper, and a gravel trap was added to the limited space on the outside of the corner. Villeneuve corner, previously an innocuous 6th gear right-hander into Tosa, was made a complementary 4th gear sweeper, also with a gravel trap on the outside of the corner.
Franscesco Sini, driver of the Solaris Motorsport Chevrolet Lumina CR8, had a successful outing and piloted his car to a 4th place finish in the first race. The second race proved to be more a difficult one for Solaris. Francesco drove a great race, but was forced to retire due to cooling system issues. The next race will take place on May 20th at Donington, which is located in England.